I've constantly struggled with feeling like I don't belong, that if people really knew what I was struggling with they would judge me, and that my dedication to God would be counted as meaningless when considered in conjunction with my same-sex attraction.
This week I've thought a lot about how my life and future don't look like what I've always planned. Perhaps I'll get married to a woman and father children. Perhaps not. I'm doing the best I can with the cards I've been dealt. Sometimes, the "thoughtful" questions that people ask me imply that I'm studying a dead-end major or that I'm committing some sin of omission by not actively dating. Mind you, most of these negative feelings are simply stories I tell myself. I paint myself into a corner all too often. Juggling same-sex attraction, chronic pain, and the everyday demands of life often makes me feel like I'm not good enough for this world.
Something that struck me while working with Alex was that while many people I know (including, sometimes, myself) pick at how he sings so dramatically and ostentatiously that it takes the Spirit out of the hymns. In essence, I've downplayed his testimony because of his presentation.
It came as a slap to the face, albeit a soft one. Are words of love in another language any less genuine? Does presentation invalidate a testimony? Perhaps others see me when they find out that I experience same-sex attraction in an uncomfortable light, that perhaps if my testimony was stronger or my resolve deeper my attractions wouldn't need to be discussed (Again, stories in my head). Being a young, very single adult in the Church, my life may not look normal, and if I continue on this relationship-trajectory my lone wolf status may continue to puzzle those with whom I associate.
Whether others hold such perceptions of me or these are my misguided perceptions of myself, I think its a valuable lesson to learn that while many of our paths look very different from each other's, we are all trekking to the same destination. We can't walk another's path for him/her, but we can honor the life circumstances of our spiritual siblings by respecting their efforts to live their testimonies in an authentic manner.